Hydroponic Pest Control

Most hydroponic growers avoid the use of toxic chemicals wherever possible, instead opting for biological pest control. Biological pest control releases plant-friendly insects into the hydroponic environment in order to get rid of pests.

The following is a list of hydroponic pests and the biological pest control to combat them:

Spider Mite Predators - invisible to the naked eye, spider mites are a menace to hydroponic crops. They multiply at a devastating rate and kill crops swiftly. Initial evidence of spider mites is often left in clusters of small dead spots on plant leaves. Spider mite predators (or phytoseiulus persimilis) dine exclusively on spider mites. Once the spider mite pest is reduced the predators begin to die as well.

Whitefly Parasites - commonly called gnats, are often seen in swarms around summer foliage. The predator of whitefly is a tiny wasp called 'Encarsia Formosa'. Whitefly parasites lay their eggs inside whitefly larvae. The whitefly larvae are also the prime food source for the wasp larvae.

Ladybugs - can eat over 5,000 aphids and other soft-bodied pests during their lifespan. Ladybugs can be stored in the refrigerator for a few weeks, as long as they don't freeze or dry out. This allows you to release a few at a time and keep the rest as needed.

Praying Mantis Eggs - Mantids are relentless hunters that eat every insect they capture. Praying mantis eggs can be stored in the refrigerator until they hatch and one egg hatches anywhere from 100 to 200 praying mantids.

Lacewing Larvae - resemble tiny alligators that dine primarily on hydroponic vermin such as mealy bugs, aphids and whiteflies. Lacewing larvae are one of the more expensive forms of biological pest control, but many growers find their appetites worth their expense. Lacewings will persistently search up to 100 feet for a meal.

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